ccpottery@BELLSOUTH.NET on mon 17 nov 03
The timing of this discussion is quite interesting since the Holidays are looming and we
are all hoping for a prosperous selling season. So, it is quite natural to glance around
and wonder just exactly who your competition is ....
but more importantly ... who it is not.
Taken to the very wildest possibility ... since everyone is competing for the consumer's
dollar .... General Motors and the corner grocer are your competition.
Narrowing it down some ... Is every single source of pottery your competition?
Are the foreign imports your competiton? You bet. On the base level of competing for
disposable dollars they will smack you around every time. Five plates for the price of one
of yours ... sold!
And, as I have said several times before, it would be so much easier to compete with
them if it all was cheap crap. But, most items are well made and give excellent value for
They are tough to beat for what they are ... machine made, assembly line stuff that looks
good enough to give someone on your shopping list.
The only way to compete with them is to get out ... and stay out ... of their price range
because you cannot beat them or match them at what they do for the price.
What they cannot do is innovate. At 2000 widgets per hour there is not a lot of time to
add a personal touch. Thousands of plates per hour means they all have to look the
same and feel the same.
So this is the crack in the armor and luckily, this is the thing we do best. We create, we
innovate and we personalize. We leave thumb marks. We place our hands on the object
and leave a record of our passing.
Our pots look different from each other even if they come out of the same kiln load. If a
customer wants two exactly the same ... no can do. Close is close enough. Our pots feel
different ... you have to pick them up and hold them to see if they are coming home with
No one else makes exactly what you make. Smile and tell your story. Feed your
customers if you get a chance. Give them the full experience of the joys of buying hand
made objects and they will return and bring others with them.
Chris Campbell - in North Carolina - here in North Carolina we have a humungous dish
replacement warehouse ... the one in the back of all those magazines ... and it is a great
place to visit. In addition to all of the fine china, antiques and collectors display ... there is
a huge area for 'gas station' dishes. And a large demand for replacement pieces. Maybe
somebody doesn't even know grandma's fine china came from the Shell station. Check
out her butcher block too cause those dudes used to give away knives too! Doesn't that
date me age-wise ... weapons for free at the corner gas station!